Netherlands: New driving test effective 1 January 2008

The test will be introduced gradually with effect from 1 January 2008 and is intended to reduce the number of traffic accidents amongst recently qualified drivers. People issued with a driving licence for the first time are at far greater risk of causing an accident than experienced drivers. The new driving test was developed by CBR by order of the Ministry of Traffic and Public Works to improve traffic safety in general and promote safe driving behaviour amongst recently approved drivers in particular. Specific measures have already been adopted in recent years for this target group including the introduction of a beginner’s licence and more stringent alcohol limits.

From the start of 2008, aspiring drivers will be more explicitly trained and examined in relation to driving independently, recognizing danger, driving in traffic jams and driving in an environmentally aware manner. As outlined in the attached fact sheet, these elements have resulted in new test components. The new set-up hinges on personal responsibility being carried by aspiring drivers. The revised driving test was developed in close cooperation with researchers, the driving school sector and traffic safety organisations. Costs will remain the same for both the theory and practical tests.

Transition period
A transition period of three months will be observed when introducing the practical test. Within this period, candidates can choose whether or not to complete the test based on the old or the new model. With effect from 1 April 2008, CBR will only test candidates based on the new-style model.
In the forthcoming four-week period, CBR will provide around 6,000 driving schools with information on the content of the renewed theory and practical tests via various channels including six symposiums organised throughout the country.

The new theory test that will also be introduced with effect from 1 January 2008 will more emphatically test traffic insight and danger recognition skills. To this end, candidates sitting the test for B category licences will be given eight seconds within which to study photos of risk situations. They will be asked to indicate what action they would take: slam on brakes, take their foot off the accelerator, or do nothing. Initially, the visual questions will not count towards the outcome in order to give the sector and the candidates enough time to get used to the changes. The number of questions in this category will increase in mid-2008; they will then also count towards the test results. New questions to test insight will also be added to the theory test and attention will be paid to driving in traffic jams. The section devoted to driving in traffic jams ties in with publicity campaigns directed at increasing driver awareness in this area too.

Trial tests
Trial tests held in recent months amongst hundreds of candidates, instructors, examiners and experienced drivers show that the renewed driving test draws a sound distinction between candidates capable of driving independently, safely and responsibly and new drivers who have yet to master these skills. Experienced, licensed drivers noted that the new test elements corresponded with those learned through experience driving on the road. What’s more, the participants were enthusiastic about the new set-up. Many of the candidates were impressed by the degree of initiative now offered. Partly because of this, they picked up the necessary skills more quickly and the number of driving lessons followed remained the same as those followed during the former practical training programme. The results will be reviewed in a year’s time.


Independently follow a route
One of the new components of the revitalised practical test is to independently follow a route. The examiner can request the candidate to

drive to or from a known des